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Friday Finds: The Longest Swim

Polar bear swims hundreds of miles in effort to survive

Polar bear swims hundreds of miles in effort to survive
In a testament to the rapidly deteriorating conditions that polar bears face in a changing climate, researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey recently discovered a polar bear that swam nonstop for more than 200 hours and 400 miles, reports the BBC. The epic journey in the Beaufort sea was most likely necessary due to an increase in melting sea ice, which polar bears travel on to hunt prey. In addition to losing 22 percent of her body fat during the journey, the mama polar bear also lost something that's truly irreplaceable, her baby cub. Check out Earthjustice's Irreplaceable campaign to find out how these Arctic symbols and others are being impacted by climate change.

Rolling Stone profiles the climate change dirty dozen
What do Sarah Palin, Bjørn Lomborg and Fred Upton (R-MI) have in common besides a penchant for making grandstanding remarks? They're also three of 12 people blocking progress on global warming, reports Rolling Stone. Some of the dozen's tactics include: attacking the EPA, giving reputable climate scientists the third degree, spreading disinformation about global warming and just plain lying to the American public. Unfortunately, their laughable efforts to mislead us are actually being taken seriously by some, and in the process risking all of our future.
Gasland nominated for Academy Award, industry sulks
It's not often that environmental issues get the red carpet, but the Academy's nomination of Gasland for best documentary is sure to shove the issue of fracking, a controversial drilling technique that uses massive amounts of chemicals to get to natural gas deposits, into the mainstream. Though some drilling industry execs and even movie critics have questioned the accuracy of some of Gasland's claims, reports The New York Times, one thing's for sure—the issue of fracking and its controversial methods—isn't going away anytime soon.
Undercover eco spy falls in love, goes rogue
In a story that seems to be taken right out of a James Bond movie, a Scotland Yard agent sent to spy on Britain's "militant environmental movement" recently revealed his true identity to his environmentalist comrades after coming under the "strain of living a double life," reports the LA Times. In addition to creating enemies on both sides of the aisle, the disclosure has raised questions about the necessity and legality of such covert police activity against a relatively harmless group of treehuggers.
Coal ash may have caused mass extinction
A study published in Nature Geoscience has uncovered a new suspect behind the Permian-Triassic extinction event, coal ash. Though experts have long maintained that Russia's volcanoes caused the event, volcanic eruptions are a fairly common occurrence in Russia, so it's long been thought that other factors must have been involved. Researchers now believe that days after a "volcanic explosion in coal and shale deposits occurred in Siberia….ash from the eruption, raining down onto the Canadian Arctic, sucked oxygen from the water and released toxic elements," reports Nature. Paul Wignall, a paleontologist at the University of Leeds, UK, says that coal ash may very well have been the "tipping point" in starting an extinction infamously known as the Great Dying.